Total elimination of nuclear weapons No: 1 disarmament priority - Annan

5 September 2003 –

Of all the challenges facing the world from weapons of mass destruction, the total elimination of nuclear weapons must remain the top priority, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in the latest UN Disarmament Yearbook, released today.

“Innocent people throughout the world are still threatened by weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Annan writes in the first chapter of the yearbook, published by the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs. “They face additional threats from major conventional weapons, as well as from the destabilizing accumulation and illicit sale of small arms and light weapons, and the continued production and use of landmines.

“Of all these challenges, however, the total elimination of nuclear weapons must remain the top priority,” he says.

Focusing on the actions and reactions of the world community to a wide range of disarmament issues, the book surveys developments within the UN, as well as bilateral, plurilateral and regional developments.

It includes steps taken by member states and the UN to address the threat of the possible use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups against the backdrop of the 11 September terrorist attacks in 2001 against the United States, and efforts made to strengthen multilateral disarmament legal norms with regard to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Other sections include progress made by member states and the UN in implementing the programme of action on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons to combat the proliferation of such weapons as well as progress made in eradicating and reducing anti-personnel landmines.

Now in its 27th edition, the yearbook is designed as a handy reference tool for diplomats, researchers, educators and the interested public.

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